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Potato, Cheese, Thyme

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage Easy (Bloomsbury)

Photography © Simon Wheeler

These scrumptious little potato cakes are good enough to enjoy as a starter or light meal with just a crisp salad on the side. They also make a great accompaniment to sausages or a piece of fish. This is a good way to use up leftover potato, but it’s also worth baking some jacket spuds & leaving them to cool just so you can do this.

Makes 6


500g cold cooked potatoes

100g mature Cheddar

1 tsp thyme leaves

Sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil for frying

3 tbsp plain flour

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


Put the potatoes into a bowl & mash roughly with a fork – keep it a little bit chunky rather than make a smooth mash. Cut the cheese into very small cubes, about 4-5mm. Stir these into the potato with the thyme & some salt & pepper.

Heat a thin layer in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Scatter the flour on a plate. Take small handfuls of the potato mixture & shape into balls, then flatten slightly to form 6 small cakes, about 2cm deep. Dip them in the flour & turn to coat lightly on both sides.

Place the potato cakes in the hot frying pan & cook them for 8-10mins until golden brown on both sides, turning them carefully once or twice. Don’t worry if some of the cheese starts to ooze out as it melts – just encourage back into the potato cake with a spatula.

Transfer the potato cakes to warm plate, sprinkle with a touch more salt & serve.

PLUS ONE: Try adding a little chopped cooked bacon to the mix, or a couple of teaspoons of baby capers. Cold, leftover parsnips or celeriac can also be roughly mashed & added to the potato mix.

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